Stoke Ash: Criticism of Suffolk County Council as small school is set to close

Stoke Ash Primary School is set to close after student numbers fell Stoke Ash Primary School is set to close after student numbers fell

Matt Hunter matt.hunter@archant.co.uk
Saturday, March 22, 2014
6:00 AM

Suffolk County Council needs to “learn lessons” after not doing enough to prevent a school from closing, according to one of its members.

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Andrew Stringer, Green county councillor for Upping Gipping, has criticised the authority after it proposed to close Stoke Ash Community Primary School.

The school, near Eye, has capacity for 70 children but only three were attending in January after falling from 20 in September.

Following an Ofsted inspection in September it was deemed to be “inadequate” and placed in special measures. Mr Stringer said he did not want to see what had happened at Stoke Ash “replicated” in other schools. He referred to the recent Ofsted inspection which criticised the council’s education record.

The inspection of the council said there needed to be “better and more consistent” use of information by staff to “intervene quickly” when schools are in trouble.

But a council spokesman said it had worked for “many months” to provide “focused support” for Stoke Ash.

Mr Stringer said: “It’s devastating news for the local community. I personally do not think that hand on heart the county council has done all that it could.

“It needs to learn the lesson of this and intervene and help and support far earlier than it does.”

The school will close at the end of the summer term if the council’s cabinet approve the recommendation in June.

The council spokesman said: “The county council has committed many months of support for Stoke Ash Primary, including attempts to broker partnerships with other schools. There will, however, sometimes be situations where schools become unsustainable – despite this focused support.

“Our priority is to unsure that all children attend a good or outstanding schools and are taught by good or better teachers. If closure is in the best interests of the children’s education, then we would consider it.”

No-one from the school was available for comment.

Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal can email sarah.hammond@suffolk.gov.uk. All comments need to be made by April 18.

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